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Shepparton: Sensational
  |  First Published: August 2014



Greater Shepparton is synonymous with great food, wine, waterways and weather. Greater Shepparton boasts a diversity of cultural, outdoor and sporting activities seldom found anywhere else and from an anglers point of view, Shepp is close to some really good fishing.

Located only two hours north of Melbourne, the area features magnificent food and wine, glorious weather and all the attractions and activities you could imagine in a regional city.

Restaurants abound throughout the region, offering an international taste experience to suit all palates.

Shepparton is the home of SPC Ardmona Factory Sales - a warehouse selling everything from canned fruits and tomato products to baked beans and spaghetti in bulk and at vastly reduced prices. Thousands of visitors flock to Shepparton each year to snare a bargain and with daily specials you are guaranteed to save.

Endless hours of fishing, boating and other water activities are offered by the Goulburn, Broken and Murray rivers and the Waranga Basin, Nagambie Lake and Goulburn Weir to name just a few.

Visit historic towns to see the evolution of the region, check out the numerous studios and galleries, or enjoy Shepparton's great shopping experience.

All this can be experienced in a climate offering warm summers ideal for the outdoors and winters perfect for that indoor indulgence within an easy drive from Melbourne.

Shepparton at a glance

With just under 65,000 people, Shepparton is not a small town, but neither is it a big town. The main centre of town is exactly what you would expect in a large regional town with every facility and convenience right there for your use.

Accommodation is everywhere in Shepparton and places to eat are abundant. All of the modern amenities you would expect in a modern and vibrant town are found in Shepparton and visitors will lack for nothing. An easy place to navigate around, anglers will appreciate the abundance of tackle stores and boat dealers as well as the various camping stored found throughout Greater Shepparton. It really is a great place to find something unusual or that lure that the locals all rave about.

The people are friendly and the fact there are so many waterways close by make Shepparton an ideal place to base yourself for a long term stay if fishing is your thing. Having visited Shepparton a number of times, I still find myself discovering more and more fishing options every time I visit and I am always looking forward to my next visit.

The Fishing

Shepparton is often described as the gateway to a lot of places in regard to fishing. Areas like Barmah and Mulwala, Cobram/Barooga and the kilometres of state forest along the Murray are all within relative spitting distance of Shepparton.

But to think Shepparton offers poor fishing would be to do it a great injustice. The Goulburn River, Broken River, Waranga Basin, Lake Nagambie and many other smaller waterways are all full with fish, the surprise packet being Lake Victoria in the middle of town, a lake that is stocked with native fish on a yearly basis with around 1,000 Murray cod and 5,000 golden perch. That number of fish in a lake the size of Victoria means you will catch fish!

The Goulburn River itself is a great fishery and there are thousands of extra fish stocked into its waters every year. Being a serious irrigation supply, the waters of the Goulburn fluctuate unnaturally with peaks in summer and lows in winter, but this does not mean the fishing will be poor. Those low winter periods are a must fish if big cod are your target and if golden perch and redfin are on the agenda, the high flows that allow safe boat passage will give you access to untold numbers of snags that these two species call home. And don't be surprised if a big angry cod crashes the summer party either, they’re still there and still feeding.

In town the best way to access the Goulburn River by boat in town is via the main ramp located under the Peter Ross Edwards causeway bridge. The single lane concreted ramp is a great place to launch and it gives you access to some great fishing either up or downstream. You don’t need to travel very far to catch good quality fish with many larger fish caught in the past 500mts from the ramp.

There is plenty of bank access to the river behind the Shepparton lake bait from the banks works best in this area.

Out of town Moira Park is my favourite location, situated 10 minutes from the centre of town. Turn off the Goulburn Valley highway into Moira Drive and it will take you into the bush. There is no real boat access unless you have a 4wd but I find walking the banks is best out at Moira Park there is plenty of places to fish and the access is very easy by car.

Fact Box

Goulburn River

Target Species: Murray cod, golden perch and carp

Best Baits: Live yabbies or bardi grubs

Best Lures: Large spinnerbaits, medium diving hardbodies

The Broken River is an undiscovered fishery that just screams cod. A locally held secret hotspot, the Broken is a river that is full of snags that are full of fish. Most anglers tackle the Broken from the bank or when using a canoe or kayak and I can think if no better way to spend a day than drifting down the Broken tossing lures at snags just waiting for that crashing strike. And don't forget your surface lures either. The often shallow nature of the Broken lends itself perfectly to surface lure presentations in the low light periods. Dawn and dusk and into the night are prime tomes to give yourself a heart attack as some seriously large cod call the Broken River home.

The Broken River is a narrow waterway with plenty of deep holes and lots of structure to cast at. Best areas are along Broken River Drive or Lincoln Drive, which is either side of the main road when coming into Shepparton from Melbourne. There is a walking track that follows the river and it’s the easiest way to access the River in summer there is a lot of snakes at water’s edge to take care when walking the banks. The Broken River fishes best on a rise.

Fact Box

Broken River

Target Species: Murray cod, golden perch and carp

Best Baits: Shrimp and worms

Best Lures: Surface lures, small spinnerbaits and suspending or floating hardbodies

Of course the Nagambie Lakes system is only half an hour’s drive south from Shepparton and the number of fish put into this waterway in the last 5 years means you are almost guaranteed a fish.

There is ample areas to have a fish around the Nagambie Lakes with many anglers fishing from the bank and a few fishing from their boats. Most anglers will patiently fish baits in the snags and around structure like reed edges and drop offs. A few more and inventive anglers are now chasing the native fish with smaller spinnerbaits and hardbodies from boats and kayaks and are having great success

Fact Box

Nagambie Lakes

Target Species: Golden perch, Murray cod, redfin and carp

Best Baits: Shrimp and worms

Best Lures: Small spinnerbaits and hardbodies

Waranga Basin, just to the east of Rushworth, has always been known as a sensational redfin fishery, but these days it is starting to get a reputation for other species such as carp and crayfish.

Waranga is an off-river water storage that is shallow, snag-filled waterway that anglers will find appealing on first glance. There is no shortage of structure to fish and there are plenty of access points to get you on the water. Bobbing yabbies and worms is always a popular pastime but some cunning anglers are starting to work out the lure fishing options and are producing some amazing catches in terms of size and numbers.

Fact Box

Waranga Basin

Target Species: Redfin

Best Baits: Worms

Best Lures: Metal vibes, soft plastics or small deep diving hardbodies

The local, suburban lakes in and around Shepparton are the quiet achievers. It’s an interesting study of these lakes when you look through the stocking records. There are plenty of fish there and they should be relatively easy to target with some bait or carefully placed cast lures. Victoria Lake on the southern edge of the main town centre is the most popular lake to be fished and produces numbers of golden perch and increasingly Murray cod, but other, smaller waterways are well worth having a quiet fish at around dawn or dusk with the best part being you don't need a boat.

Shepparton (Victoria) Lake is located in the heart of Shepparton on the main road into Shepparton. There is a ramp located around the back of the lake and it has a 5 knot speed limit. There and plenty of fishing platforms located around the lake to make land based fishing easier to access. The lake gets stocked repeatedly so there is a high chance you will catch a fish.

Fact Box

Victoria Lake

Target Species: Murray cod, golden perch, carp, redfin, rainbow trout

Best Baits: Powerbaits or worms under a float

Best Lures: Small hardbodies, Tassie Devils or lipless crankbaits

There are 3 lakes out at Kialla and the best way to fish the lakes is from the bank, ranging from6-10ft deep the lakes are a safe and easy place to fish. The lakes have limited structure to cast at and minimal underwater snags so it’s slow rolling lures along the bottom works well or simply casting your bait around the willow trees or weedy banks.

Fact Box

Kialla Lakes

Target Species Golden perch, redfin and carp

Best Baits: Worms and yabbies

Best lures: Lipless crankbaits and soft plastics

The fishing options in and around Shepparton are surprisingly good. As stated, every time I go near the place I learn something new – a new location, a new technique or a completely new fishery. It’s a place an angler could spend many months exploring and discovering and still you’d not scratch the top off the fishing opportunities, so don't miss the chance.

Get your tackle

Shepparton is loaded with great tackle shops and for a tackle rat like me, visiting Shepparton is always a fun experience. In fact the last time I dropped into Shepp I walked away with 12 new lures, a tackle retriever and some new leader material. You'd think I’d have enough lures, but regional towns always offer lures you just don't see in your local tackle shop!

Trelly’s Tackle World is a bit of an institution in Shepparton and well worth a visit as the shop is massive and caters to every fishing need. The number of lures and the bait station is as impressive as I have seen anywhere. At the northern end of town Boats and More’s tackle range is diverse and expanding and there are also plenty of lures, in fact the shop could well be called Boats and Lures! This shop cost me a lot of money last visit.

The best part about the local tackle stores is that they are staffed by local anglers who know exactly what's going on and where your best options are for fishing the local waters. I always discover something new about the Shepparton fishing scene when I am in any of the local tackle stores and this should be the place to do your homework. Oh yeah, buy some of the lures or baits they recommend as the information that comes with those recommended lures is priceless to your success

Get your boat

If you need to buy a boat, service a boat, get running repairs or even talk about boats, then Shepparton has you well catered for.

Within the town there are four main dealers who offer just about every major brand of boat and motor out there. Boats and More and Solar City Marine combine to make Shepparton almost like a mini-boat show any given day of the year.

I’ve done plenty of boat tests out of Shepparton and have always found the boats to be set up perfectly for the local areas and waterways. Having such a wide array of boat dealers, if you run into trouble with your boat, your motor or your trailer, there is someone there who can assess the problem, fix it and get you back on the water in a hurry.

This is a great peace of mind when you're on holidays as problems can and do arise and getting them sorted efficiently and quickly means you're not wasting your valuable holiday time without a boat.

The local dealers are a very valuable resource for Shepparton and help make Shepparton a very easy place to spend a lot of time.

Things to do

Golfers can enjoy some of Australia's best and most challenging provincial courses with facilities second to none.

Historical museums located throughout Greater Shepparton provide an insight into the varied background of the region. The Tatura Irrigation and Wartime Camps Museum offers a fascinating insight into the prisoner of war camps, and their internees, that were located in the area during World War II. Contact the Greater Shepparton Visitor Information Centre for opening hours of the historical museums.

Greater Shepparton is home to SPC Ardmona KidsTown, one of the largest outdoor playgrounds in Australia.

The Goulburn River Pedestrian Bridge links the popular Victoria Park Lake precinct, featuring the Aquamoves complex and S-CAPE skate park, with SPC Ardmona KidsTown via the Yahna Gurtji pathway network.

Life in Greater Shepparton is always worth celebrating and during the year festivals highlight all that is great in the region.

It's no surprise that food and wine feature high on the festival agenda, beginning with International Dairy Week in January, Mooroopna Fruit Salad Day in February, the Taste of Tatura and the Shepparton Festival all in March.

Sport comes to the forefront with the World Cup Show Jumping, Half Ironman Triathlon and motor events including the huge Spring Car Nationals in November each year.

The Exhibition and Events Complex in Tatura hosts many and varied events throughout the year. This complex, known as Tatura Park, is the home of the world renowned International Dairy Week and also hosts major equestrian events, product exhibitions, etc.

If walking is your thing the shared pathway network winds its way from the north of Shepparton, at Water's Reserve, south along the Goulburn River to the centre of the City, and branches west to Mooroopna and south to Kialla Lakes.

The pathways run through areas of natural beauty, including forest and river environs, and is connected in places by on road access links.

A brochure is available that provides details of the many highlights that can be viewed along the pathway.

For more information on activities and attractions in the Greater Shepparton region, please contact the Visitor Information Centre on 1800 808 839 or email --e-mail address hidden--

Stay a while

Greater Shepparton is diverse in its varied standards of accommodation, from AAA 4 1/2 star rated properties that you would expect in a major rural city including apartments, bed and breakfasts and motels, to the budget styled accommodation including backpacker hostels, the region has it all. We can cater to your individual needs whether that be for business or for pleasure, we look forward to hosting you on your next visit.

Accommodation to suit every budget can be found for that single night, or extend your stay to explore all the region has to offer.

Eat till you drop

Greater Shepparton, in the heart of the Goulburn Valley, has long been synonymous with food and fresh produce. Home to an amazing array of home-grown goods including stone fruit, cherries, apples, pears, grapes, olives and tomatoes, it is little wonder the region is considered the food bowl of Australia.

The area caters for all tastes - enjoy the produce fresh or visit a local producer who creates and sells mouth-watering treats such as boutique cheese, gourmet products and sweet delights.

Fresh fruit sales are also available at farm-gate stalls seasonally. A visit to the region is not complete without a stop at our award-winning wineries. Offering a huge selection, from soft whites and sweet varietals to big bold reds and luscious fortifieds, our local vignerons produce their wines with much passion and vigour.

Taste their offerings at one of the many cellar doors, sit back, soak up the ambience, enjoy a platter and for those designated drivers, why not enjoy a coffee?

Dining out in Greater Shepparton is also a pleasure. The area caters for all dining experiences with a fantastic selection of cafes, wine bars, bistros, bakeries and restaurants. Local restaurants and chefs try to ensure local produce is incorporated into their menus, complemented by our local wines. Local produce is also available at the many farmers' markets throughout the region and our top drops are celebrated annually at the Dookie Wine Show. Contact the Visitor Information Centre for further details.

Be sure to see: The farm gate and factory outlet sales, cellar door options and a diverse range of seasonal produce from fruits, cherries, wines, olives, meats and cheeses to be tasted and enjoyed, which make Greater Shepparton internationally renowned as the Food Bowl of Australia.

Love it

Shepparton is so much more than a gateway to anything. It is a sensational destination all to itself and worthy of more than just a short stay.

If you're into fishing, Shepparton has so much fishing on offer that you could spend a lifetime there and still not know it all. If food and wine are your thing, every itch can be scratched there too with some award winning venues and wineries within the region. Accommodation is varied and easily accessible and there are plenty of things to do for families, couples and individuals.

Most of all Shepparton offers the family angler a real opportunity to have a sensational family holiday and still catch plenty of fish. You won't need to compromise your fishing or your family time in Shepparton and I can't wait to get back there and enjoy what Shepparton has to offer. - Stephen Booth with Nick Brown

Facts

Information

Visitor Information Centre on 1800 808 839

Boats and More Shepparton on (03) 5822 2108. 207 Numurkah Road, Shepparton, Vic. 3630. Email

Solar City Marine on (03) 5831 6388, 195 Numurkah Road, Shepparton, VIC, 3630. Email --e-mail address hidden--

Trellys Fishing & Hunting World on (03) 5821 6572, 209 Corio St, Shepparton, Vic 3630. Email --e-mail address hidden--

Facts

Fish Stocked around Shepparton*

YearWaterwayMurray codGolden perchSalmonids (all)
2010Amaroo Lake05000
Goulburn River (below Shepp)25,0004,7000
Goulburn River (above Shepp)25,00015,3000
Kialla Lake01,5000
Lowanna Lake05000
Mooroopna Recreation Reserve00200
Nagambie Lake49,960200,0000
2011Amaroo Lake05000
Goulburn River (below Shepp)020,0000
Goulburn River (above Shepp)35,00000
Kialla Lake01,5000
Loch Garry05,0000
Lowanna Lake05000
Mooroopna Recreation Reserve00200
Nagambie Lake50,000200,0000
Victoria Lake07,000600
2012Amaroo Lake05000
Goulburn River (below Shepp)40,00017,0000
Goulburn River (above Shepp)40,00000
Kialla Lake01,5000
Lowanna Lake05000
Mooroopna Recreation Reserve00100
Nagambie Lake34,500130,0000
Victoria Lake01001,000
2013Amaroo Lake02500
Goulburn River (below Shepp)51,34035,0000
Goulburn River (above Shepp)46,39300
Kialla Lake07500
Loch Garry02,0000
Lowanna Lake02500
Mooroopna Recreation Reserve00150
Nagambie Lake60,300124,2000
Victoria Lake2,0002,0001,000
2014Amaroo Lake05000
Goulburn River (above Shepp)50,00035,0000
Goulburn River (below Shepp)50,00035,0000
Kialla Lake01,5000
Loch Garry02,0000
Lowanna Lake05000
Nagambie Lake50,00082,0000
Victoria Lake02000

* Other protected species such as trout cod and Macquarie perch have been stocked in some of these areas and not included in the list as they are not a recreationally targetable species

Local Lurks

Broken cod and Waranga reddies, Damon Edmunds, Solar City Marine

While I fish many different locations, most of my time fishing the Shepparton area is made up of two main spots; the Broken River for Murray cod, and the Waranga Basin for redfin.

Broken River

The Broken River is a small river that drains from Lake Nillacootie, and runs down and into the Goulburn River at Shepparton. It is a relatively shallow river that can be waded through in most parts, but it's the deeper holes that the Murray cod generally prefer. The meandering banks are lined with structure, such as fallen timber, overhanging trees and rockwalls, which are all good habitat for our native species.

When fishing the Broken, I use a selection of medium sized hardbody lures, such as size 2 StumpJumpers and Oar-Gee Pee Wees, but I will more commonly use spinnerbaits. Using spinnerbaits allows me to cast the lure into the strike zone, and have it sink on the spot, rather than using a hardbody, and slow rolling it down to the depth, pulling it away from where the fish is sitting.

Waranga Basin

The Waranga Basin is a small dam located a few kilometres out of Rushworth. It's home to multiple species, but it's the redfin I'm interested in.

My favourite way to fish for them is to troll hardbody lures such as RMG Poltergeist 50s, and size 3 StumpJumpers around likely areas, while looking for school of fish or bait on the sounder. Once a school of fish is found, either on the sounder, or by catching a fish trolling, I simply hold the boat close to the school using my electric motor, and slow roll soft plastics through the fish. This is just the very start of fishing these waterways, but hopefully it has helped a bit.

Fishing by feel, Damien Bennett, Boats and More

My favourite style of fishing for Murray Cod is casting large, deep diving hard body lures at unseen structure. I have always been amazed at the number of cod anglers who don’t use large lures when casting for Murray cod. I have found that there are a lot of advantages to casting big lures that dive deep, especially in our local rivers and waterways.

For those of us who are fishing on a budget, a deep diving hard body lure can be a good way to find timber that is deep and unseen without spending our hard earned money on expensive fish finders. With braided lines giving us the extra feel we need, with enough practice you can feel your line rubbing on the timber before your lure will hit, so getting snagged can be avoided simply by slowing the retrieve down to a crawl or stopping it to let your lure float up over the snag.

Using large lures to feel for deep snags can be very rewarding as the snags that are hidden usually haven’t had as much fishing pressure as the timber that you can see jutting out of the bank. I usually start fossicking for structure on a large bend in the river with a steep bank as you can usually find deeper water here. When I find deep water snags I will then put countless casts over the structure to cover the entire length of the timber. If you don’t get a hit on the first pass, be persistent and hopefully you can entice a resident cod into a territorial strike.

Some great lures for this kind of fishing include the Custom Crafted Medium Hammerhead with the extra deep bib, the Custom Crafted 150mm Jaws, the Oar-Gee 100mm Plow with the 25ft bib and the J.D. Python with the deep bid as they all dive down to depth very quickly. I also have caught plenty of golden perch using these large lures as a by-catch and I am continually surprised at how many small fish attack big lures.

My preferred rod is an 8-10kg baitcast rod such as the Wilson Live Fibre Venom or the Abu Garcia Vanguard loaded with 20-25kg braid. A heavy rod is needed to cast the heavy weights of these lures. Used with two hands your casts can still be very accurate. Strong line is a must as I have seen large lures cast with 20-30lb line backlash and break the line in midair.

In summing up, casting large deep diving lures can be a great way of getting to deep structure that can’t be accessed with conventional trolling methods and a great alternative to using sinking lures that have a greater risk of getting snagged.

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